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Extended Forecast: All “Hands” On Deck Following the Break

I Hope My Joke Ages Well

NBA: Milwaukee Bucks at Chicago Bulls Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports


Oops... forgot to put the Wizards game here. I'm not alone, many people forget the Wizards exist. Add another win to the record

Hi Milwaukee Bucks’ fans! Wow, what a way to head into the All-Star break! Having a week-plus off and riding a 12-game win streak into it, including going 5-0 in the last forecast. The Bucks have been on a tear, particularly Giannis, but everybody from Brook Lopez to Jrue Holiday to Jevon Carter has been killing it, and now being able to (hopefully) add Bobby Portis and Jae Crowder back to the mix, this forecast looks outstanding. I also would like to point out the title of my forecast from two forecasts ago, and it said “despite everything, we are still okay” (and I still believe that). What did I tell you??? Let’s take a look at how I did with the record.

Julie’s Prediction: 3-2 (38-19)
Bucks’ Record: 5-0 (41-17)

Okay, I did say 4-1 was likely but I felt that there would be a lot of rest games for us. Still, the Bucks did better, and now they have flipped from being three games worse than my prediction to being two games better in the span of 12 games, so my season prediction of 54-28 is looking like the low bar, since 13-11 is what they need to get there. If I were to update it, it would be 55-27.

The Bucks started off blowing out a fully healthy Portland team, before heading down to Los Angeles on trade deadline day to take on the Lakers after LeBron’s big performance to break Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s all-time scoring record. Following that, we beat the Clippers in the same city, and then came back home for a date with Boston. Luckily, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown stood us up, and we were able to squeak by in overtime. Regardless, I think the Bucks are better, but that game was still too close for me. And finally, we played a very shorthanded game against a very shorthanded Chicago team and swept the forecast.

Upcoming, the Bucks open the third trimester against the Miami Heat, and then have a Finals rematch with Phoenix, who may or may not have Kevin Durant playing by then. We then take a short trip to Durant’s old hometown in Brooklyn to face whatever they have, and then head back to Milwaukee for two more. The first will be against Orlando, and the second will be against the nemesis of Brew Hoop, Philadelphia.

Now, let’s move on to injuries, which I’m sure will be updated prior to most of the games.

The elephant in the room that is making most of us nervous is Giannis’ right wrist injury, and how that will affect him going forward. I don’t believe it’s too serious given that they let him go play in the All-Star game, and the reporting provided good news on that front. I have been someone who has suffered a brutal hand injury and I’ll tell you, he didn’t hit the backboard in a way that would (likely) cause any major breakrage. I’m no doctor, but if you want to really mess your hand up, knuckles first instead of palms first is the way to do it.

Aside from that, Bobby Portis and Jae Crowder look to come in after the break, and whether it is game one or game two, they both should be back shortly. Meyers Leonard, a backup big with his most notable stretch in Portland, was also added to a 10-day deal, so he is going to be playing at some point one would assume.

For the other teams, Miami is going to be without Kyle Lowry. That is the only guarantee that is there, but Tyler Herro, Victor Oladipo, Nikola Jovic and Omer Yurtseven are all game time decisions. Same with Kevin Durant, Landry Shamet and Cameron Payne of Phoenix; Cole Anthony and Jonathan Isaac of Orlando; and Furkan Korkmaz of Philadelphia. Nobody is on the injured report for Brooklyn. Let’s get into the forecast.

Miami Heat
Friday, February 24th
630PM on ESPN & Bally Sports WI

The Miami Heat had a very exciting trade deadline, giving away Dewayne Dedmon to the Spurs for cap savings, and that’s about it. That prompted a tweet by someone that the Heat have not acquired a single player outside of the draft since the 2021 offseason. Well, that’s incorrect since they signed Jamaree Bouyea to a two-way deal, as well as our very own Dru Smith (just kidding). All jokes aside, the Heat haven’t been looking externally for improvement for a while now, or they haven’t been able to pull off the deals with the few assets that they actually have.

And now, they brought in Kevin Love (and Cody Zeller), which should be an interesting addition to that team at the very least. I’m not sure I love the move for them, lol, but he is still a serviceable backup big man which is why some people here wanted us to sign him.

This is our last game against the Heat, and if it feels like we’ve played them a lot lately, it’s because we have. I believe they are part of the win streak we currently are on, as well as two mid-January games without Giannis and Khris Middleton, but we have gotten used to this team. Expectedly, the Heat are 2-1 against the Bucks, and 0-1 when Giannis plays, so who really knows what to think anymore about this matchup.

The Heat have eight players Erik Spoelstra trusts, nine maybe if Haywood Highsmith is getting higher on the pecking order, and that is causing bloated numbers and all eight of those players averaging in double-digits. Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo, Tyler Herro and Kyle Lowry are the top four, and with the decline of Lowry it’s really just stopping two of those three guys for the Bucks to win. I see no reason why the streak doesn’t continue.

Phoenix Suns
Sunday, February 26th
12 Noon on ABC

When they scheduled this matchup, ABC did not expect Kevin Durant to be in Phoenix and Jae Crowder, the former Sun, to possibly be playing his first game of the season against the Suns. This was a loaded matchup prior, but now there is a lot of extra drama in the growing rivalry(?) between these two teams because of those transactions.

If you were to start the season today, I would think it would be foolish not to give Phoenix the odds to win the West, but with the sizable lead Denver has, them catching up is nearly impossible. Still, Phoenix could do it, with a very complementary big four and a moderately good supporting cast.

I’m not sure if Durant, Crowder, Giannis or who will play with all of the resting going on in the association nowadays, but I will say if Durant and Giannis both play, this will be a game that is likely going to be a tossup. If one or the other doesn’t, the edge goes to that team. This is definitely a game that is frankly meaningless in the big picture, but could be a nice glimpse at where the barometer is at.

At Brooklyn Nets
Tuesday, February 28th
630PM on Bally Sports WI

Last time we saw Brooklyn, they had Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, and now they have Mikal Bridges, Dorian Finney-Smith, Cameron Johnson and Spencer Dinwiddie. What do we make of this? Personally, I believe these are all very good players, but none of them are stars that can lead a team at this point in their careers. And with a roster of a lot of other role player types, Brooklyn has now become a collection of unwanted playoff-caliber players, and Ben Simmons.

Now, I wouldn’t sleep on this team on a given night, and I would still put them ahead of teams like the Bulls and Wizards, because those four players are solid. They also have relatively good depth, and are now have an underrated defense. Are the Bucks at full strength, or even without a member of the big three, clearly the better team? Yes. But this is a team that could get a win in a postseason series, so I wouldn’t just sleep on them this game either.

Orlando Magic
Wednesday, March 1st
7PM on Bally Sports WI

Orlando is rebuilding, and they traded away center Mo Bamba and bought out guard Terrence Ross to help them sort of create more room for the younger players on their team. Rookie forward Paolo Banchero is becoming the runaway favorite for Rookie of the Year, and the Wagner brothers are becoming a force alongside him. They even are starting to see if their big investments in the injury-prone twins of Joanthan isaac and Markelle Fultz are worth hanging onto in the big picture.

Is it weird to think that the Magic are exactly where they want to be right now? They have a team that looks like it will be good in two years, and they play solid basketball now, but their record doesn’t show it. That seems like the perfect place for a team that is still hunting for another guy, a guard perhaps, to go alongside Banchero and Franz Wagner and form a very intriguing big three right in the middle of the swamp known as Florida.

As for this game, this is the clear one to circle, but the Magic aren’t as much of a pushover as they used to be. We should beat them, and I would bet on this being our most likely victory, but it’s not 100% certain in my eyes.

Philadelphia 76ers
Saturday, March 4th
730 PM on ABC

Our last game of the forecast comes against our site nemesis, the Philadelphia 76ers and their trash-talking selves. At least we aren’t going to be playing around those fans this time, because I seriously fear for the safety of players and player families when they go there after hearing about the incident with Kirk Cousins’ family. I will say they are passionate, but sometimes it goes a little too far for me.

As for the game itself, this appears like a big one for the playoff seeding picture, and it is, but the Bucks also have one more game at home if we end up losing this one to get a chance to pull it back to even. The Bucks also currently have a two and a half game lead over Philadelphia, and it likely won’t be made up by the time we get here. That would require Philadelphia going 4-0 and us going 1-3, or them going 3-1 and us going 0-4. Both are very unlikely. So, this should be interesting, and I would bet that the Bucks will show up for this one with all of the bad blood between the teams.

Julie’s Prediction: 3-2

I did bump us down a notch after the Giannis injury, because he probably won’t play Miami or Phoenix if I had to guess. I think we can go 1-1 without him in those games, especially if Durant doesn’t play, but after that the schedule looks easier. Brooklyn and Orlando are beatable without Giannis, and Philadelphia isn’t as good as their record shows. Still, no Giannis means it will be that much harder to go 5-0, or 4-1 like I thought this stretch would be before the game in Chicago last Thursday.


Let’s Assume No Giannis for Two Games, What Do You Think the Bucks Record Will Be During this Stretch?

This poll is closed

  • 40%
    4-1 or 5-0 (No Giannis, No Problem)
    (102 votes)
  • 38%
    3-2 (Julie’s Correct Prediction)
    (96 votes)
  • 20%
    2-3 (Nothing to Worry About As Long As He Comes Back Okay)
    (51 votes)
  • 0%
    1-4 or 0-5 (Same as 2-3, But Just a Worse Record)
    (1 vote)
250 votes total Vote Now